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Raptors fade again in late innings and lose to Mustangs

SHARE Raptors fade again in late innings and lose to Mustangs

OGDEN — If the Ogden Raptors don't do something quickly to end their five-game losing streak, every team in the Pioneer League will be lining up to play them.

Ogden's latest loss? A 9-6 decision to Billings Friday night.

The Billings Mustangs, the last-place team in the North Division, moved to .500 with the victory over the struggling Raptors, and they seemed to have picked up where the Great Falls White Sox left off.

The Raptors opened their first home stand of the year with Great Falls Monday. The White Sox were in last place in the North Division when they arrived. They left four days later in second place with a healthy dose of confidence.

Ogden manager Travis Barbary is concerned but not overly worried.

"Everyone goes through losing streaks, but since it's early and you want to get off to a good start, especially at home in front of the home fans, it's probably magnified a little bit more," Barbary said. "All teams go through it. We happened to go through it the first five games at home."

The Raptors (4-7) haven't won since capping a three-game sweep of Casper with a win Sunday.

For the third time in five games Friday, the Raptors have given up eight runs or more. The pitching staff is still last in the league with a 6.54 ERA. Four Ogden pitchers have ERAs over 10.

Ogden dug itself into a five-run hole in the first three innings, before scoring a run in the fifth.

Billings added two more in the top of the sixth, but Ogden sent 10 hitters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth and scored four runs. Luis Castillo, Goeff Comfort and Simon Ferrer drove in runs in the inning.

The Raptors sent the winning run to the plate with two outs in the ninth, but reliever David Shafer struck out David Cardona to end the game.

"It's tough when you get down early. They hung in there and that's all I can ever ask them to do," Barbary said. "From the last two nights, even though we lost, we can take a few positive things from it and build on it."

The late-inning woes continued for the Raptors. After giving up 23 of 37 runs to Great Falls in the last three innings of the four-game set, the Raptors allowed two more in the final three frames, which allowed Billings to build the winning margin.

Billings' Jim Paduch earned the win by allowing seven hits and four runs in five innings. Shafer picked up his third save of the year.

Ben Himes paced the Mustangs with four hits and three RBIs, and Miguel Perez also had four hits.

Taylor Slimak led the Raptors with three hits.

NOTES: Heading into Friday's contest, the Raptors were leading the Pioneer League in attendance with 4,096 fans per game. That number will increase thanks to 4,265 that showed up Friday . . . Ogden leads the league in steals with 16 . . . The second game of the three-game series is tonight at 7 at Lindquist Field . . . Ogden's Ryan Carter leads the league in hitting with a .441 average . . . The Raptors are last in the league in homers with four, and Billings is tops with 13.

E-mail: jhinton@desnews.com